Dutch Supercar Challenge - Zandvoort
A new addition to our already extensive coverage of GT racing across
Europe is the Dutch Supercar Challenge, the only Dutch GT and touring
car championship, a series which is roughly comparable to Belcar.
The season kicked off during the Easter weekend and although the
coverage is a bit late, we feel that you shouldn’t be deprived
of an excellent race, nonetheless – writes Nelson Valkenburg.
During qualifying on Saturday it was Cor Euser in his factory Marcos
Mantis who took pole-position in the GT class, in front of the ever
hard-charging René Snel in his Snel Motorsport Porsche GT3-RS
and the very impressive Graham Coomes, who put his Supersport class
ex-BTCC Honda Accord in front of several more powerful GTs. Fourth
overall and third in the GT class was Meindert van Buuren in his
V8-Star (with a Volkswagen Passat body) closely followed by Luca
Moro in another GT3-RS.
In the Supersport class
it was Coomes in third overall in front of Jan Joris Verheul in
his Marcos Mantis and John van der Voort in a similar car. The STW
BMW of Frans van Os and the BMW M3 GTR of Ron Braspenning were next.
In the Sport class it
was Ko Scheurer in his beautifully prepared BMW E46 in front of
Hans Ambaum (BMW E36) and Danny de Haan (BMW Z3 Coupe). BMWs didn’t
have it all their way however, as Nico Been put his Renault Clio
RS in fourth just in front of the equally impressive Eugene Jansen
in another BMW.
With the prospect of close battles throughout the field, notably
in the Sport and Supersport classes and almost famous early-race
rivalry between Euser and Snel, the first race of the season was
anxiously awaited and certainly did not disappoint. The field made
for a fine sight heading into Tarzan.
It was Jos Menten who
piloted the factory Marcos Mantis at the start, and the young Dutchman
came away cleanly off the line. René Snel however had a slightly
better start and attacked the multi-coloured Mantis straight away.
Snel himself had to fend of fierce attacks from Meindert van Buuren
in the V8-Star, who made a great start and subsequently found himself
in third place. Battling for fourth place were Graham Coomes and
Jan Joris Verheul, who also were fighting for the lead of the Supersport
class as the 45-car field roared into the 180-degree Tarzan Corner.
These battles continued
all the way through the first lap and by the time the head of the
field came onto the long straight it was René Snel who had
taken the lead with a “do-or-die” move at the Audi-S
chicane. Battling for third place were Van Buuren and Coomes, who
had moved away from Verheul, who later reported braking trouble.
As it turned out, Van Buuren was settling in rather well and pulled
away from the British Honda Accord and set out to catch the leading
Jos Menten quickly
took back the lead and put on a display of his speed, as he pulled
clear from the Snel Porsche in order to give his patron, Cor Euser,
a healthy lead as he took over the car during their pits stop. After
the stops it was an easy victory for Euser and Menten. Behind the
leaders, Snel and Van Buuren never were fare apart, but the V8-Star
never got close enough to launch a serious attack and had to settle
for third, a good result nonetheless for a driver who hadn’t
sat in the car prior to the weekend.
In the Sport
class the battle was perhaps even fiercer than in the other two
classes, as Co Scheurer and Hans Ambaum battled for the lead during
the first part of the race. The two BMWs put on a good show for
the crowd and it was Ambaum who finally prevailed with a good overtaking
manoeuvre in the Audi-S chicane, which was turning out to be the
place where most of the overtaking took place. Ambaum then settled
into a steady but fast rhythm and opened up a significant advantage
over the competition. The gap to second grew significantly as the
BMW of Co Scheurer retired and Danny de Haan inherited second, just
in front of Dirk van Engelenhoven, who carved through the field
during the first part of the race. In the end De Haan was able to
fend of Van Engelenhoven as they headed for their well-earned podium
Fourth overall and first
in the Supersport class was Graham Coomes, followed by Verheul in
the ill-handling Marcos. Third was the Van Os STW BMW, which had
fought an interesting battle with the new Saker of Robbert Dollee,
the Luca Moro Porsche and the BMW GTR of Ron Braspenning who ended
up ninth overall and fourth in class.
1. Euser / Menten GT Marcos Mantis GT 18 laps
2. René Snel GT Porsche GT3-RS + 18.858
3. Meindert van Buuren GT Passat V8-Star + 21.735
4. Graham Coomes Supersport Honda Accord ST + 22.492
5. Jan Joris Verheul Supersport Marcos Mantis + 38.305
6. Robbert Dollee GT Saker Subaru + 59.768
7. Luca Moro GT Porsche GT3-RS +1.01.556
8. Van Os / Van Os Supersport BMW 320i STW +1.03.244
9. Ron Braspenning Supersport BMW E46 GTR +1.08.313
10. Nol Kohler Supersport Marcos Mantis +1.12.168
Ambaum Sport BMW E36 + 1 Lap
After the mostly incident free first race on Saturday, the second
race on Monday started with a bang. The grid was made up from the
result from the first race and after the flag dropped it was again
René Snel, making his now customary super-start, who took
the fight to the factory Marcos Mantis. Unfortunately the two made
contact, which sent Euser spinning at the exit of the first corner.
partly because of his car control, Euser was missed by the entire
field and could resume from pole-position (of the restrated race).
Snel had no such luck as the beautiful Porsche was virtually destroyed
after hitting the barriers, and then a few seconds later being struck
by Luca Moro in his similar car: neither car was able to resume
at the restart.
At the restart it was
the surprising Jan Joris Verheul in the Supersport Marcos who took
the lead after a great get away, and he actually pulled away from
Euser, who had to deal with Meindert van Buuren in the V8-Star,
who had decided to make a race of it.
The spectators watched
in awe as the blue and white Silhouette passed the second-placed
car under braking for the the Audi-S chicane, and held on for almost
a lap, until Euser powered past at the Hunserug. Unfazed, Van Buuren
attempted the same manoeuvre at the same corner and again made it
stick, but was passed again at the Hunserug-straight. This battle
was not to last as, unfortunately, because the organisers found
that the V8-Star failed to meet noise-restrictions and was taken
out of the race.
In the Supersport class
it was Verheul, who was still leading overall, at the front. Graham
Coomes, Ron Braspenning and Richard van de Bos in his BMW V8 GTR
fought hard for the remaining podium places. The fight would continue
through into the final stages of the race as the group had the spectators
on their feet. In the end, Van de Bos would prevail in front of
Ron Braspenning, who had the narrowest of leads over Coomes. At
the finish he had three tenths in hand!
In the Sport
class it was much of the same as a lot of competitive cars were
fighting for positions. Hans Ambaum was again the winner, but he
had to fend off a serious challenge from Dirk van Engelenhoven,
who just missed out on a win by one tenth of a second. Danny the
Haan was third, just in front of the improving Manfred Bavelaar.
In the end, Verheul couldn’t
keep the hard-charging factory Mantis behind him and had to settle
for second overall. Second in the GT class was Robbert Dollee, with
the very new Saker. This car might turn out to be a great challenger
for race wins if his current form is anything to go by. Third in
class was Jan Storm in a Porsche GT3-RS. Storm had struggled during
qualifying, but had a great second race and thoroughly deserved
this third place.
All in all, the Dutch
Supercar Challenge offered a lot of excitement for drivers and spectators
alike and with the prospect of even more competitive cars, like
the Mosler MT900-R owned by Gary Woodcock and a new Competition
Viper, the series looks to be as good as any national GT championship
1. Euser/Menten GT Marcos Mantis GT 18 laps
2. Jan Joris Verheul Supersport Marcos Mantis + 18.667
3. Robbert Dollee GT Saker Subaru + 39.896
4. Richard van de Bos Supersport BMW V8 GTR + 49.287
5. Ron Braspenning Supersport BMW E46 GTR +1.14.807
6. Graham Coomes Supersport Honda Accord ST +1.15.161
7. Jan Storm GT Porsche GT3-RS +1.15.341
8. Matthew van Diessen Supersport Marcos Mantis +1.15.697
9. Paul Gebbink Supersport Marcos Mantis +1.32.671
10. Nol Kohler Supersport Marcos Mantis +1.38.287
Ambaum Sport BMW E36 + 1 Lap
The next race will take
place on the Nurburgring on May 8/9.